Thursday, February 14, 2008

Alaska Suffers From Institutionalized Corruption

Corruption in Alaska involves more than just a few bad apples. It’s as institutionalized as Jim Crow laws of the 1940’s.

The Daily News described crooked land deals in Seward. What the Sealife story didn’t say was that the city manager who refused to spend Senator Stevens’ earmarks as directed was fired for his integrity.

Seward’s city manager’s refusal forced Ted Stevens, Trevor McCabe, and Brad Gilman to re-route their scheme through the Sealife Center where they found willing partners in a majority of the board.

That’s what I mean by more than just a few bad apples. Seward’s City Council fired their manager for having the integrity to say no, while the Sealife Center went along to get along, even though members of both knew that Gilman, McCabe, Ben and Ted Stevens all have a history of close ties.

The Seward scenario provides a snapshot of how the “Good Old Boy System” works. An image of favoritism and bribery that dominates Alaska’s politics.

Oil industry bribery has cost Alaskans a couple billions dollars every single year since we began pumping oil from Prudhoe Bay.

Cleaning up corruption in Alaska will require leaders willing to risk retribution and play chicken with some mighty scary people. Fear of a visit from the political equivalent of the KKK causes even the honorable to fear stepping forward.

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